As Silver Latitude members we have sailed on six cruises with NCL all over the world. We have noted a steady decline in the quality of customer service provided. Due to the problems encountered on this cruise, we will not sail with NCL again. We found that customer service and comfort were not a priority for them. When we arrived at the terminal, we were greeted by an NCL porter who asked us "How much was it worth to us for our bags to get on the ship?" We found this a rather strange way to greet customers and gave a very negative first impression.
The lines were very long. When we asked for directions, a NCL employee addressed us in a surly manner. The processing for Latitude members was very slow. We realized that the first time cruisers for NCL were going through much faster. We then realized that they had allocated approximately 1/4 of the agents for Latitude members, when they knew in advance that over 1/2 of the passengers were Latitude members. Where is the benefit in being a Latitude member when we get shortchanged at the terminal.
We had a mini suite which was nice. We really enjoyed the extra room and the balcony. Although, we did find the the beds to be rather hard. On the second day of the cruise, We went to the Versaille Main Dining Room. My wife and I requested a table for two, but were seated at a table for four to eat.The chair where I was going to sit was very wobbly and unsafe so I moved it out of the way. I went to sit in another chair and the waitress pulled it away while I was sitting down so I hit the floor real hard landing on my hip with pain, necessitating medical attention. They got the waitress out of there and both the Assistant and the MaitreD came over. The Maitre DE apologized and indicated I could go for medical attention, which I did. When I returned the next day to the VDR, both the Assistant and the MaitreD did not inquire regarding how I was doing. When we went to the VDR and were near the front of the line, the Maitre D went out to request how many were interested in sitting at tables of 4 or more. These individuals were brought to the front of the line and were seated prior to individuals who wanted to sit at tables for two. We thought that this was not fair and was not what Freestyle Cruising was all about.Later when the Assistant came around I expressed my opinion regarding the repetition in the menu. All the Assistant wanted to do was debate with me regarding my opinion. Thereafter, we went to the Aqua Main Dining Room and found the atmosphere much better with less attitude shown.
At the beginning of the cruise, a letter was handed out that the hot tubs were down for repair. It sounded strange that all six hot tubs in different parts of the ship would be down. I asked a crew member how long they had been down. He indicated they were down for the previous cruise, which would have been for 13 days, plus our cruise. We thought that it was just a way to save money and not in the interest of the guests who enjoy the hot tubs. After the cruise was half over, they opened up two with more later on. This was apparently in response to complaint(s) reaching the home office. We also encountered a number of broken seats in the Stardust Theatre, which was a problem for guests wanting a seat and having to move for a better seat, if one was available. The hot tub and seat issues raised questions regarding whether the ship was interested in the welfare of its passengers. I have not found these problems with the previous cruises I have been on.
My wife went to buy a ring and noted to the salesman that she needed a little larger ring, due to her swollen arthritic joint. He indicated she had "fat fingers". A sale was not made. My wife also was in the Excursion Desk area looking at a shore excursion brochure for the next port. The "Shopping Lady" came over and took the brochure from her indicating it was hers and she needed it for the next presentation she was conducting. We found this to be very disconcerting for employee in a responsible position to treat a customer and passenger so negatively and rudely. She could have nicely asked and it would have been given to her. These incidents indicate culture that does not put its customers first. The shows were mostly good to very good with a wide range of entertainment provided. The concert pianist was excellent. The music program and singers were good to very good with a number of people wanting to hear them.
The disembarkation was completely mismanaged. Our group was the first to be called. When we got there, there was an extremely long line where virtually 1/2 the passengers had lined up. We told them we were in the first group, but were instructed to go to the back of the line. It took over an hour to go through the line. IS NCL ready to manage the EPIC crowds. I don't think so. I have seen it handled much more smoothly on other cruises.